The Cherith Story
Cherith was a popular gospel music group in their native Northern Ireland from the late seventies to the late eighties, with numerous appearances in concerts and church halls throughout north and south of Ireland and England. BBC and Downtown Radio appearances were common and the group picked up an Irish Gospel Music Award back in 1982 (long before Irish Christian Music Awards were invented) -- no doubt, recognition by publishers of Irish secular music of Cherith's unique contribution to Irish Christian music as a whole. Cherith enjoyed popularity across all shades of evangelicalism and this was never more evident than when they guested "The Cleft" on New Years' Eve five years running.
Punchy, close harmonies and capella vocals were the trademark of Cherith's distinctive sound, together with an easy-listening blend of bass, lead, rhythm guitar and keyboards. All of the band's songs were unique in the UK gospel music scene, with two songs written by Andrew Ballentine recorded on their second album, "We're Going On".
Little doubt, the group's most popular song was their signature tune, "Crooked Street" (from their first album - "Introducing Cherith") -- often played to rapturous applause and standing ovation from enthusiastic audiences wherever they appeared. Indeed, lead singer, Helen Ballentine, acknowledged: "Audiences refused to let us finish until we sang that particular song one more time!".
The group stopped doing concerts more than twenty years ago and much to the sadness and regret of the band, one of their founder members, David Stevenson (vocs/keyboard/guitars), passed away on 9 March, 2011.
Helen Ballentine and Andrew Ballentine (vocs/guitar) still play the occasional, private acoustic set, and recently Grace Ballentine returned to the music scene again as lead vocal and bass guitarist with her new band, in France, where she lives. Former members of Cherith, Stephen Johnson (bass guitar) lives in Australia, and Clive Graham (vocs/bass/keyboard) resides in Kent.
About The Albums
For those who'd like to hear Cherith's retro-style gospel music from the 70's and 80's, please check out our Music menu above, where you can download albums free in MP3 format.
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